Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor
Gen-Xers and the Government's Money
As a so-called "Gen-Xer," (as well as a writer who has covered "Gen-X issues") I take exception to one aspect of "Selling Skeptical Gen-Xers on Social Security" (Feb. 12): I must confess that your depiction of my generation is disconcerting.
Yes, Gen-X does not believe in Social Security. Years ago we saw that it would be depleted by the baby boomers. But unfortunately, you seem to have attributed to us certain other odd ideas: No, we don't think we can work forever. Rather, we're scared to death we're going to have to work forever, as the cost of living grows, and safety nets become increasingly unreliable. And we don't think we'll all become millionaires, although young executives - more ruthless and conservative than their "yuppie" predecessors - may achieve this. Most of us are concerned that we're going to age dead broke, resigned to the idea of relinquishing most social benefits to our children. President Clinton did wonders for the college educational system, but most of my generation had graduated by then. Still, his work program and student aid increases endeared him to us, if only because we wish that Reagan or Bush had been so inclined. Most of us are ridiculously in debt because of our near-useless college educations. Other educational movements are aimed at the "Millennials," the generation following ours. Most of us are fine with this - about time they got it right. I'm still concerned that "Gen-X" is viewed with such derision by its elders. Boomers have no right to criticize. On the average, we out-scored them on both SATs and college GPAs, and, despite the slacker reputation, have higher employment rates for our age bracket then they did at the time. So, if we're cynical about what our country can do for us, sorry. Maybe if people can get past looking down their noses at us, they might see that we're more concerned with what we can do for our country than they have ever been. Victor D. Infante Costa Mesa, Calif. I am always confused when a news source (the Monitor is not the only one) prints separate articles on (1) what to do when Social Security runs out of money, (2) what to do with a budget surplus when we get one, (3) how Congress has used Social Security monies as a general fund (and still does), and (4) how we finally made a principal payment on the trillion-dollar national debt after 17 years of payments only on interest. …